[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the September 2020 edition of E&P Plus. It was originally published Aug. 31, 2020. Subscribe to the magazine here.]  

It was Independence Day in the U.S. when it hit me. Not a backyard firework, although I did have to dodge a few wayward bottle rockets. I was struck by an epiphany that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t a time to feel sorry for ourselves; it’s a chance to embrace a future we probably already saw coming, even if it’s hard to admit sometimes.

This notion got into my head with a simple answer to a question I posed to my family. I pondered what the holiday shopping season would be like this year given crowded stores are unlikely. The answer I got from a niece was matter-of-fact and telling. “I haven’t done Christmas shopping in a store in two years,” she said.

Retail job losses are a serious problem we’re facing, but shopping has already mostly gone digital and will continue to do so. It’s a tough reality to face, but there’s opportunity in change.

We see similar things happening in the oil field. Much of our technology and production content has transitioned to stories about the digital oil field, drones, artificial intelligence, data gathering and how their growing presence in the industry lets producers accommodate lower breakeven prices and, of course, manage through price fluctuations.

Let’s not mince words. This year’s double whammy of COVID-19’s effect on oil demand and $40 oil brought on by an ill-timed muscle-flexing contest by Saudi Arabia and Russia in the spring has increased the need to be creative, nimble, fast and, in many cases, digital. This is not the time to put future plans aside; it’s a chance to accelerate them.

The E&P team, and Hart Energy as a whole, have always been with you in good times and bad, and we’ll continue to do so. Some things never change. While the industry’s service sector faces a battle like it’s not faced in recent memory, we feel its pain too. While producers ponder cost efficiencies and possible consolidation, we understand their plight.

As many of you already realize, we’re here to help you with quick, accurate and easily accessible information. Our goal remains connecting you to solutions. We also realize the future of operations is likely to be different, and you’ll need to find those solutions much more efficiently.

That’s why we are launching E&P Plus for a new era of oil and gas. We’re digital, and we’re faster. We’re nimble this way, and we want you to get the latest information on trends, new technology and data when you need it. We’re also putting you in more direct contact with the industry executives and analysts who have fed us information for so many years. We’ve added video interviews and interactive charts to the mix, for example—things we wouldn’t have been able to offer you in a static print product.

Of course, E&P Plus is more efficient as well. We’re operating on shorter lead times, which means our content is fresh and new, with the added benefit of being updated even after publishing. We’re integrating E&P Plus with HartEnergy.com, which means you’ll be able to access updated content and data whenever you need it, wherever you’re working from these days. 

We’re excited to launch E&P Plus, and we hope you enjoy it.